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  • Writer's pictureWendy Beth

"Identity Under Siege: Unmasking 3 Threats and Unleashing 6 Powerful Strategies!"

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Each of us is like a puzzle with unique pieces, called "personality characteristics," that not only makes us who we are, they make us truly special.But it doesn’t stop there!

We're also part of something bigger, like being a member of a group or team. Being in a family adds a whole new dimension to our identities, and our identities provide a strong sense of who we are and they guide how we behave.

When a person feels their identity is threatened it can lead to feeling really tired emotionally, not performing as well at work or school, and even thinking about leaving current situations. It's like our sense of who we are gets shaken up. If a person is facing these threats a lot, it can make them even more exhausted emotionally.

Have you ever been or do you know someone who has been targeted because of who they are or what they value? Did you know how people treat each other, workplace norms, discrimination, and small hurtful actions can all contribute to "identity threat?"

An Image

Identity threat happens when you perceive that something might harm or challenge the way you see yourself and how you want to be seen by others. It's like feeling that your self-worth, your beliefs, or the way you define yourself is being questioned or undermined.
Identity Threat: Perception of Harm

A Quote

"Identity threat is defined by experience(s) appraised as indicating potential harm to the value, meanings, or enactment of an identity” ~ Jennifer Petriglieri

Identity threat happens when you perceive that something might harm or challenge the way you see yourself and how you want to be seen by others. It's like feeling that your self-worth, your beliefs, or the way you define yourself is being questioned or undermined.

3 types of identity threats that make people feel bad about themselves.

The first threat is when a person feels like their value or importance is at risk. This can make an individual feel really tired emotionally because it undermines their feelings.

The second threat is when a person’s beliefs or what they think about themselves is under attack. This can make them rethink who they want to be and maybe even want to leave their identity behind.

The last threat is when the person cannot express themselves or show who they really are. This can cause a person to betray their own truth and even act differently or behave in a way they don't like.

But guess what? Understanding these feelings can help us find the courage to be true to ourselves and support each other better in being authentic. Knowing what identity threat is can be like exploring a whole new world of emotions and learning how to be strong and hopeful when things get tough.

Facing identity threats can be a deeply personal and uncharted territory for many people in an ever changing world.

An Invitation

6 innovative ways to inspire courage and hope in the face of identity threats.

  1. Visit an unknown place: Unknown doesn’t have to be far away or exotic, just new to you. Being in an unfamiliar place without reference points, labels or the expectations of others can cut through the protective barriers we create when we feel our identity is threatened. Allow yourself to experience a fresh new place from who you are.

  2. Embrace artistic expression: Discover the power of art as a means of self-discovery and healing. Engaging in creative activities like painting, writing, or music can provide an outlet to express emotions, explore one's identity, and find solace in the process of life.

  3. Nurture a support network: Reach out to those who truly care, friends, family, or empathetic colleagues who can lend a listening ear and offer a comforting presence. Shared conversations can bring solace and a sense of understanding. And remember, you don’t need everyone to understand or like you, just make sure you like you.

  4. Connect with the earth: Seek refuge in the beauty of the natural world. Mother earth will hold you if you let her. Spending time in nature can foster introspection and a sense of belonging, reminding you of the vastness and interconnectedness of life, and offering comfort during times of vulnerability.

  5. Engage in storytelling: Share personal experiences and stories with trusted friends or in creative platforms. Storytelling not only offers a chance to be heard and validated but also empowers others who may be going through similar challenges, creating a sense of community and support.

  6. Rediscover childhood passions: Revisit dreams or long-forgotten hobbies you loved as a child. Reconnecting with these ideas and passions can reignite a sense of purpose, innocence and pure love for yourself encouraging a renewed journey of self-discovery.

Each person's path in facing identity threats is unique. These nontraditional ways offer an invitation to embrace the unfamiliar and find strength in exploring new avenues of resilience and hope. Embracing the beauty of the perfectly unique person you are can lead to transformative growth and a profound reconnection with your authentic self.

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George, M. M., Strauss, K., Mell, J. N., & Vough, H. C. (2023, July 27). When “Who I Am” Is Under Threat: Measures of Threat to Identity Value, Meanings, and Enactment. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication.


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Aug 06, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Our identity is constantly being tested by the world we live in. The challenge is hanging on to the truth and finding strength there and releasing the lies!

Aug 07, 2023
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Absolutely agree with you! Knowing who we are and what we want and how to get there is the greatest defense we have to the constant influx of the world we live in.


Aug 05, 2023
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Aug 03, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I love you, baby!

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